Human Resource Functions

Human Resource Functions

Human Resource Functions refer to those tasks and duties performed in organizations to provide for and coordinate human resources.

The functions include:-

  1. Human resource planning,
  2. Recruitment and selection/.Employee resourcing
  3. Performance management
  4. Human Resource development/Training and Development
  5. Compensation and Rewarding employees.
  6. Employee Relations/ labor relations
  7. Health and safety management
  8. HR Policies and procedures
  9. Safety and health maintenance at work.
  10. Human Resource Information System( HRIS)
  11. Separating employees from the organization


  1. HR Planning

The function of HR planning   involves making quantitative and qualitative plans leading to:

  • Recruitment plans in order to avoid unexpected shortages of manpower.
  • The identification of training needs in order to avoid skills shortages.
  • Management development in order to avoid managerial shortages and for succession planning.
  • Industrial relations plans: In order to avoid industrial unrest, a change of the quantity and quality of employees require careful planning.

Manpower planning in practice is however restricted in most cases to demand and supply of labour and the problems which may arise from the process of reconciling the two factors.


HR Planning Process

Human resource planning is a process through which the company anticipates future business needs related to HR and plans for them. Human Resources planning assess the manpower requirement for the foreseeable future period of time. It attempts to provide sufficient manpower required to perform organizational activities at any given time.  HR planning is a continuous process which starts with identification of organizational objectives and their impact on HR needs. It moves through analysis of current manpower resources and ends at development of action plans.

Following are the major steps involved in human resource planning


  1. Determining Organization’s Objectives

Human resource plans must be based on organizational strategic plans. This in practice means that the objectives of the human resource plan must be derived from organizational objectives.  Organizational objectives give the organization and its members’ direction and purpose. The objective setting process begins at the top of the organization with a statement of missions which defines the organizations current and future business. Departmental objectives are derived from the organizations short term performance objectives. The assessment also involves an environmental analysis, under which the external and internal (objectives, resources and structure) environments are analyzed to assess the currently available HR inventory level. After the analysis of external and internal forces of the organization, it will be easier for HR manager to find out the internal strengths as well as weakness of the organization in one hand and opportunities and threats on the other. This will reveal the inventory of the workers and skills already available within the organization as well as those that the organization may need.


  1. Determining the skills and expertise needed/ Demand Forecasting

HR forecasting is the process of estimating demand for and supply of HR in an organization. Demand forecasting is a process of determining future needs for HR in terms of quantity and quality. It is done to meet the future personnel requirements of the organization to achieve the desired level of output. After establishing organizational and departmental objectives, operating managers should determine the skills and expertise required to meet their respective objectives. A good starting point would be a review of current job descriptions. Once this has been done, managers are in a better position to determine the number and quality of skills and expertise necessary to meet their objectives.

  1. Supply Forecasting/ determining number of additional skills

Supply is another side of human resource assessment. It is concerned with the estimation of supply of manpower given the analysis of current resource and future availability of human resource in the organization. It estimates the future sources of HR that are likely to be available from within an outside the organization. Internal source includes promotion, transfer, job enlargement and enrichment, whereas external source includes recruitment of fresh candidates who are capable of performing well in the organization.


  1. Matching Demand And Supply

It is another step of human resource planning. It is concerned with bringing the forecast of future demand and supply of HR. The matching process refers to bring demand and supply in an equilibrium position so that shortages and over staffing position will be solved. In case of shortages an organization has to hire more required number of employees. Conversely, in the case of over staffing it has to reduce the level of existing employment. Hence, it is concluded that this matching process gives knowledge about requirements and sources of HR.


  1. Action Plan

It is the last phase of human resource planning which is concerned with surplus and shortages of human resource. Under it, the HR plan is executed through the designation of different HR activities. The major activities which are required to execute the HR plan are recruitment, selection, placement, training and development, etc.

If for example the net requirements indicate a need for additions, decisions must be made on whether to make permanent hires, temporary hires or to outsource the work.

If the decision is to make permanent or temporary hires, plans must be made to recruit, select, orientate and train the specific numbers and type of personnel needed. Finally, this step is followed by control and evaluation of performance of HR to check whether the HR planning matches the HR objectives and policies. This action plan should be updated according to change in time and conditions.


Job Analysis

Job analysis is the process of determining the pertinent information relating to the nature of a specific job. It is the determination of the tasks which comprise the job and of the skills, knowledge, abilities and responsibilities required of the holder of the job for successful job performance.

Job analysis serves as the cornerstone of all human resource functions. Jobs must be analysed before many other human resource functions can be performed. Effective recruitment is not possible unless the recruit knows and communicates the job requirements. Similarly, it is not possible to design a basic wage system without having clearly defined jobs.

Two important tasks under job analysis are:- Job Description and Job Specification

A Job Description describes a job as it currently being performed. It explains, in written form, what the title of the job is, the tasks to be carried out under the job, where it is to be done and how it is to be done.

Most job descriptions will have the following sections: The job name; A brief summary description of the job; A listing of job duties and responsibilities and an explanation of organizational relationships pertinent to the job.

A Job Specification concentrates on the characteristics required to perform the job. It describes the competency, educational qualifications and experience that the job holder should have in order to be able to perform the job.

Job Analysis Methods

Three of the most frequently used methods of job analysis are:-

  1. Observation

It is a method used to analyze jobs that are relatively simple and straight forward.

The person making the analysis observes the individual or individuals performing the job and takes pertinent notes describing the work. The information includes such things as what was done, how it was done, how long it took, what the job environment was like and what equipment was used.

Two types of observation methods used are Motion Study and Time Study.

Motion Study is the job analysis method that involves determining the motions and the movements necessary to perform a task or a job, and then designing the most efficient methods for putting those motions and movements together.

Time Study is a job analysis method that determines the elements of time required to perform the job, the order in which those elements occur and the times required to perform them effectively. The objective of a time study is to determine how long it should take an average person to perform the job or task in question.


  1. Interview Method

This method requires the person conducting the job analysis to meet with and interview the jobholder.

Interviews can either be structures or unstructured.

Unstructured interviews have no definite checklist or pre-planned format. The format develops as the interview unfolds.

A structured interview follows a predesigned format.


  1. Questionnaires

The questionnaire method can obtain information from a large number of employees in a relatively short time period. For this reason, questionnaires are used when a large input is needed and time and cost are a limiting factor.

The questionnaires typically contain both close ended  and open-ended questions.


Job Design

Job Design is the process of structuring work and designating the specific work activities of individual or group of individuals in order to achieve certain organizational objectives.

Designing a job involves making a decision as to who, what where, when, why and how the job will be performed.

The job design process can generally be divided into three phases:-

1.The specification of individual tasks i.e. What different tasks must be performed.

2.The specification of the method of performing each task i.e. How will each task be performed.

3.The combination of  different tasks into specific jobs to be assigned to individuals i.e. how the different tasks will be grouped to form jobs.

The overall goal of job design is to develop work assignments that meet the requirements of the organization as well satisfy the individual requirements of the jobholder. The key to successful job design is to balance the requirements of the organization and the jobholder.



Recruitment is the process of seeking and attracting a pool of applicants from which qualified candidates for job vacancies can be chosen. The magnitude of an organization’s recruiting effort and the methods to be used in that recruiting effort are determined from the human resource planning process and the requirements of the specific jobs to be filled:

If the forecasted human resource requirements exceed the net human resource requirements, the organization usually recruits new employees. Organizations however do have options other than recruiting new employees e.g. using temporary works, offering overtime to existing employees, subcontracting the work to another etc.

Successful recruitment requires that the jobs to be filled be defined as precisely as possible. Job analysis provides the information required for specific jobs.

Sources of Recruitment

  1. Internal Sources

The first decision in recruitment is to determine whether to promote someone from within the organization or recruit from outside.

Internal recruitment has the advantage of enhancing employee morale. Other advantages include;

The organization has a good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of its employees and this reduces chances of making the wrong decision.

Employees know about the organization and how it operates, this reduces the chances of an employee having inaccurate expectations and therefore becoming dissatisfied

Internal recruitment makes full use of the abilities of the organization’s employees and this improves the organization’s returns on its investments on its workforce.

Internal recruitment can be a  powerful employee retention strategy

It can however have a number of disadvantages which include;

Disadvantage of inbreeding and stagnation of ideas. New blood can bring new ideas which an organization may need to grow and become innovative.

Infightings for promotions can become overly intense and have a negative effect on the morale and performance of people who are not promoted.

Heavy reliance on internal  sources can also perpetuate racial, gender, tribal and age composition of the workforce.

A balance between internal and external recruitment works best for any organization


  1. External Sources

Organizations have at their disposal a wide range of external sources for recruiting personnel.

Examples of external recruitment include:-

  1. Job advertising commonly placed in daily newspaper.
  2. Recruitment agents and bureaus.
  3. Employee referrals
  4. Walk in interviews mostly for casual jobs
  5. Unsolicited application letters
  6. College/Campus recruiting
  7. Executive recruitment firms/ head hunters e.g Hawkins & Association
  8. Social Media e.g Face book, Linkedin

9     Online/Internet based recruitments firms e,g career point

10     Company web sites

  1. Electronic media e.g TV, Radio etc.



One advantage of recruiting from outside is that the pool of talent is much larger than that available from within.

It is often easier and cheaper to hire highly technical, skilled or managerial people from outside rather than training and developing them internally, especially when an organizational has an immediate demand for the type of talent.


Attracting, contacting and evaluating potential employees can be a very demanding and difficult task.

Employees hired from outside need a longer adjustment or orientation period.

Recruiting from outside may cause morale problems among people within the organization who feel qualified to do the jobs


Several theories have been advanced to explain why internal sources of recruitment are more advantageous than external ones. .

The first theory suggests that applicants from within the organization receive more accurate information about the job than employees recruited through other methods.

Another theory postulates that differences in the effectiveness of recruitment source  are a result of different recruitment sources reaching and being used by different types of applicants. Internal applicants are able to get information about vacancies much faster

A third theory has its roots in literature on interpersonal attractions which indicates that people tend to be attracted to those who are similar to themselves. It follows then that an employee recommending another for a job is likely to choose a person similar to him/her.

Supporting research found that long tenure employees referred applicants who also tended to stay long on the job..

The fourth theory is based on the concept of realistic job previews.

Realistic job previews involve giving an applicant an honest assessment of a job because they know what to expect, informed applicants will tend to stay on the job longer than applicants who did not understand the nature of the job.

Evaluating Effectiveness of Recruitment Strategies.

Considering the number of potential recruitment sources, it is important to determine which source is the best to use. There are several ways of making such an evaluation. They include;

  1. Examining the number of applicants each recruitment source yields. A source that attracts most applicants is always the best.
  2. Considering the cost of the recruitment per applicant. This is done by dividing the number of applicants with the amount spent in the recruitment campaign strategy. This method can be disadvantageous in the sense that an organization may receive a large number of applicants at a relatively low cost per applicant but none may be qualified for the job.
  3. Looking at the number of successful employees generated by each source. This is a very effective method.
  4. Looking at the number of disadvantage people who applied for the job and were hired through the source. e.g. minorities and women


Selecting Employees

Selection is the process of choosing from among available applicants the individuals who are most likely to successfully perform a job. The selection process normally entails a series of steps which include:-

  1. Completion of application form
  2. Preliminary Interview
  3. Employment Testing
  4. Reference Checking
  5. Final Selection Decision


  1. Filling Application Form

Completing an application form is normally the first step in most selection procedures. The form provides basic employment information for use in later steps of the selection process.

  1. Preliminary Interview

The preliminary interview is used to determine whether the applicant’s skills, abilities and job preferences match the available jobs in the organization. It is usually a brief, exploratory interview, normally conducted by a specialist from the HR department.

  1. Employment/Formal Testing

Most organizations consider this step as the most important in the selection process.

All the questions asked at this level are job related. Many types of tests are available to organizations for use in the selection process. The tests which are most popularly used include: aptitude tests, job knowledge and proficiency tests, interests and personality tests.

Types of interview Methods

Several types of interviews are used e.g.

  • The structured Interview
  • Unstructured Interview
  • Stress Interviews

A structured interview is one in which

  1. The source of the questions is a job analysis (job related)

2.All applicants are asked the same questions

3.There is a standardized scoring  key to evaluate each answer.

An unstructured interview is one in which;

Interviewers are free to ask anything they want.

Highly structured interviews are more valid and reliable than unstructured ones.


Problems with unstructured Interviews

  1. Poor intuitive ability

Interviewers using unstructured interviews often base their hiring decisions on gut reactions or intuition. Unfortunately human beings are not that good at using intuition to predict behavior. High rates of divorce are a good pointer.

  1. Lack of job relatedness

Research findings indicate that the most common questions asked in unstructured interviews are not related to the job being interviewed for. Research has further shown the kind of answers interviewers prefer for these questions but this does not predict job performance. In addition to not being related to the job, many of these questions are illegal e.g do you have any medical condition?, are you married?

  1. Primacy effect

Research indicates that information presented prior to the interview or early in the interview carries more weight than does information presented later in the interview. Furthermore, it has been observed that interviewers make decisions about a candidate within the first few minutes of the interview. To reduce the primacy effect, interviewers should make repeated judgments during the course of the interview rather than one judgment at the end of the interview. The applicant should be rated after each question.

  1. Contrast effect.

The contrast effect affects the interviews in that the interview performance of one applicant may affect the performance of the next applicant. If an average applicant follows a poor one, he/she is likely to be rated highly. An applicant’s performance is related in relations to the previous ones. It therefore becomes advantageous to be interviewed right after a poor candidate.


Stress Interviews

Stress interview is used to a limited extent. It is designed to place the interviewee under pressure. The interviewer assumes a hostile and antagonistic attitude towards the interviewee. Its main purpose is to detect the highly emotional person and to eliminate persons who cannot cope well in a stressful job.

4.Reference Checking

This can take place either before or after the second interview. Using the given list of references, the hr department will contact the most appropriate to get more information on the interviewee. The most often used source is previous employers.

  1. The Final Selection Decision

The responsibility of making the final selection decision is assigned to different levels of management in different organizations. In many organizations, the human resource department handles the completion of application forms, conducts preliminary interviews and reference checking. The final decision and the follow up interview are usually left to the manager of the department with the job vacancy. In some organizations, the human resource department handles all the steps in the selection process. In small organizations, the owner makes all the decisions.



After people are hired they must be inducted into the organization and to their jobs. Employees must also have their skills periodically updated and they must learn new skills. Those who have no job experience must be trained to perform their jobs.

Training can be defined as a systematic and planned process to change the knowledge, skills and behavior of employees in such a way that organizational objectives are achieved.

Training is usually offered when current work standards are not maintained and when this situation is a result of lack of knowledge and /or skills and /or poor attitudes among employees. Training can also be offered as a result of introduction of new technology or new systems of work. Training is normally offered to operational employees.


Traditionally, Employee development focused on management level employees while line managers received training designed to help them improve skills needed to do their jobs. However, with the increased use of work teams and employees becoming increasingly involved in all aspects of business, development is becoming more important for all employees.

Development unlike training is future oriented especially because it is related to succession. As such, it involves learning that is not necessarily related to the employee’s current job. Other differences between training and development include;

  1. While training helps to prepare employees to improve performance on their current jobs, development helps to prepare them for other positions in the company and increases their ability to move into jobs that may not yet exist. Development is therefore linked up with succession planning.

2.Because training focuses on improving employees’ performance on their current job, attendance to the training programs is mandatory. Development is only mandatory for those employees who have been identified as having managerial potential.

  1. Although development is sometimes enhanced through planned development programs, it often results from work experiences. As training becomes more strategic, the distinction with development becomes more blurred. Both then become focused on current and future personal and company needs


Orientation/Induction training is the first kind of kind of training which is offered to employees after they join the organization

This is the introduction of new employees to the organization, to their work units and to their jobs. An effective induction program has an immediate and lasting impact on the new employee and can make the difference between his/her success and failure. It can determine development of intentions to turnover.

Induction should ideally be conducted at two distinct levels.

  1. Organizational level induction, which introduces employees to the organization, its various units and operations.
  2. Departmental level induction, which introduces the employees to the department, and to the job they will be performing. It describes topics that are unique to the new employees’ specific department and job.

The human resource department and the new employees’ immediate manager normally conduct the orientation.


In order to achieve good results with training and development efforts; the training must consist of an orderly planned sequence of events. The training process is therefore divided into four phases:

  1. Assessment of training needs
  2. Development of training objectives.
  3. The training and development phase.
  4. The Evaluation process.



This phase of the training provides the information that is necessary for the design of the training program. It involves an analysis of the organization, job analysis and personal analysis.

Organizational Analysis

Organizational analysis involves an examination of the short term and long term goals of the organization. This ensures that the training program developed will suit the organization in the short and long term. The analysis also determines whether there is a positive climate to enable transfer of learning from the program to the job. The analysis also looks into whether training is the best solution to fulfill the identified needs. An alternative to training can be provided by selection and employment of persons who already possess the skill required for the jobs.

Job Analysis

The second stage of assessing training needs involves a job analysis. Check notes (earlier) on the topics for details.  (Job Specification- check notes). Other ways of determining training needs include;Results of performance appraisals;  feedback from customers ;



After needs analysis has been completed, a decision must be taken as to whether training is needed.

If a decision is finally taken in favour of training, the training needs must be described in terms of objectives. The objectives provide the input for the design of the training program. They also serve as a measure of success that will be used in the evaluation process.

Objectives can generally be specified in two different forms i.e. learning objectives and performance objectives. Learning objectives state what the trainee will know while performance objective state what a trainee will be able to do.

When setting training objectives the outcomes that are targeted must be defined.


After the training needs have been identified and the objectives specified, a training program can then be developed.

An environment must be developed that is conducive to achieving to achieving the training objectives.

When designing a training program the transfer of learning from the training situation to the work environment is important.

Training Techniques

Specific training techniques must be employed in the training process.

The different training techniques can be categorized as experiential and non-experiential and

Experiential techniques are behavioural oriented. They focus on learning by means of concrete experiences. Non-experiential techniques try to stimulate learning through their impact on thought processes.

 Experiential Techniques

The experiential technique is often used in organizations are:-


This involves the use of equipment that requires trainees to use the same procedure and actions that are necessary when operating on actual equipment in the work place. They are often used to save costs or when human lives would be at risk e.g. when training pilots, doctors etc.

Case Studies

These are often used in small group situation. A group is provided with a written description of the background to and problems of a real or realistic situation. The group is then expected to organize the information, identify the decision issues, determine a rational solution and develop a plan of action.


Role playing accomplishes learning  through observation, imitation, a feedback . It provides the opportunity to practice skills that are transferrable to the work situation. Role playing requires the learner to assume the role of a person in a hypothetical problem situation.

Business Games

Games are developed to represent the functioning of an organization. After being given information on aspects such as organizational problems, managerial functions and policy decisions, trainees are asked to make input decisions and are then provided with feedback on the consequences of their decisions. Business games are especially used in management training. The more realistic the game is, the more effective it will be, especially in the transfer of learning.


Sensitivity Training (T-groups)

This technique is mainly used for training in human relations and interpersonal skills. Unstructured real life opportunities are provided to study behavior as it occurs during training. Trainees are then able to develop insights into their interpersonal relationship styles.


Non-experimental techniques should be used when needs assessment indicates a knowledge deficiency while experimental techniques should be considered where there’s skill deficiency.


Experiential  techniques include:-

  1. Simulators
  2. Case studies
  3. Role playing
  4. Sensitivity training (T- groups)
  5. Business games


Non-experimental training techniques include the following:-

  1. Lecture method
  2. Audio visual aids
  3.  Programmed instructions and computer aided instructions


Lecture Method

The ideal lecture should be a two-way flow of information. Knowledge is transmitted from trainer to trainees. Trainers on the other hand can actively learn from lectured by listening, observing, summarising, questioning and taking notes.

A lecture makes economical use of time because it can cater for large groups but its scope is limited in terms of active participation.


Audio-Visual Aids

Tape recordings, overhead projectors and closed circuit television may be used in a lecture room or independently by students.

Programmed instructions and Computer based Instruction (PI and CAI)

PI is a form of self-instruction while CAI is the form of application of PI in a computerized format. PI can be contained in instruction manuals.



The main interest of organizations in training employees is to know what returns training brings to their investment.  This can only be determined by evaluating the outcomes of the training.

The FOLLOWING  criteria for evaluation of training can be used:

  1. Reaction of Participants

This is obtained by asking the trainees for their opinions on the program. A questionnaire is developed asking questions about the skills of the trainer, use of training techniques, their delivery styles etc.

  1. Learning

Learning is evaluated by means of paper and pen tests. The aim is to determine if principles, facts and techniques that were taught are understood.

  1. Behavior Change

An assessment can be made to determine if the training has led to changes in behaviour on the job. Measurement of results includes such aspects as improvements in work performance, changes in rates of labour turn over and absenteeism and a reduction in costs.

Summative Versus Formative Evaluation

Trainers are not only interested in the outcomes of training programs; they also want to know what process factors influence the outcome of the training. This information can be obtained by observing the trainees and trainers and by monitoring the training process at certain intervals.

An evaluation that incorporates the mediating factors is called Formative Evaluation while an evaluation that only measures the outcome of a program is called Summative Evaluation

The evaluation must also determine internal validity i.e. whether the results obtained from the training can be ascribed to the program and not to the other factors in the organization. It is also important to determine the external validity i.e. can the training can be generalized to performance in other situations e.g. other groups, other organizations, other work situations.



Performance management is the strategic and integrated approach to increasing the effectiveness of organizations by improving the performance of people who work in them.

Effective performance management ensures that employees and managers understand each other’s expectations and how corporate strategy and objectives impact on their roles, behaviours, relationship interactions, rewards and futures.

It also ensures that all employees and managers know how to meet those expectations and goals are supported in doing so.

Performance management is a holistic process that ensures that the following are developed and effectively carried out:

  1. Setting of corporate, department, team and individual objectives.
  2. Performance appraisal systems.
  3. Reward strategies and schemes.
  4. Training and development strategies and plans.
  5. Feedback, communication and coaching.
  6. Individual career planning.
  7. Mechanisms for monitoring the effectiveness of performance management systems and interactions.

Performance Appraisal/ Perfomamce management systems

Performance appraisal is the process of determining and communicating to an employee how he or she is performing on the job and establishing a plan for improvement.


  1. When properly conducted, performance appraisals lets the employees know how well they are performing.
  2. It influences their future levels of effort and task direction. Effort is enhanced if the employee is properly reinforced.
  3. Performance appraisals are used to help in administrative decision making in issues such as promotions, firings, layoffs and pay increases.
  4. Performance appraisal information can also provide the needed input for determining both individual and organization training and development needs. This is because the appraisal will identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Performance appraisals also help to encourage performance improvement. In this regard they are used as a means of communicating to employees, how they are doing and suggesting needed changes in behaviour, attitude, skills or knowledge.
  6. Performance appraisals are an important input in human resource planning and in selection procedures for internal recruitment and promotions.
  7. The performance appraisal records can be used to protect organizations in cases of unfair dismissal.

It is important for employees to be genuinely involved in the design of an appraisal scheme, the evaluation of performance and the objective setting process. Employees need to have a clear understanding of the purpose of the process i.e. Is it evaluative or developmental?

The following should be key principles in design of a performance appraisal scheme.

  • It should create motivation to change or improve behaviour.
  • It provides recognition for successful performance.
  • It should provide guidance on what skills, competencies and behaviours are required to meet expectations.
  • It should be simple, clear and easy to read.
  • It must be seen as providing business benefits and to be relevant to day to day tasks and local needs.
  • It must make realistic demands on employees and manages time and other resources.
  • It must be perceived to be fair.

Types of Performance Criteria

A distinction can be made between input and output based criteria.

Input based criteria relateses to the personal traits, competences and skills that an employee brings to a company or a job.

Output based criteria are co-owned with individual performance objectives or the goals to be met by the employee.

Performance Objectives

In a performance management system, departmental level objectives are derived from business strategy objectives. The departmental objectives are then translated into team and individual objectives.

Companies often use the acronym SMART to help set effective objectives.

S- Specific

M- Measurable

A- Achievable

R- Realistic/Relevant

T- Timely

There are difficulties in setting objectives for certain types of jobs such as doctors, teachers etc.

Performance Appraisal Methods

  1. Management by Objectives (MBO)

Also referred to as goal-setting approach, the management by objectives (MBO) approach is more commonly used with professional and managerial employees.

The MBO process typically consists of the following steps:-

  • Establishing clear and precisely defined statements of objectives for the work to be done by an employee.
  • Developing an action plan indicating how these objectives are to be achieved.
  • Allowing employees time to implement the action plan.
  • Measuring objective achievement.
  • Taking corrective action if necessary.
  • Establishing new objectives for the future.

For an MBO system to be successful, several requirements must be met:-

  • Objectives should be quantifiable and measurable.
  • Objectives should be challenging yet achievable.
  • They should be expressed in writing and in clear and concise language.
  • Employees should be allowed to participate in objective setting process. Active participation by the employees is likely to get employees committed.
  • The objectives and action plan must serve as a basis for regular discussions between the manager and the employee concerning the employee performance. These regular discussions provide an opportunity for the manager and employee to discuss progress and modify objectives when necessary.
  1. The 360-degree feedback/Appraisal

With 360-degree appraisal, a person’s job performance is evaluated by his/her immediate supervisor as well as the other individuals who have entire direct or indirect contact with the persons work. The person also conducts a self-assessment of his/her performance. Co-workers also evaluate the person. Additionally, subordinates, customers, clients (internal and external) and anyone else who has contact with the person also makes an evaluation.

Full circle (360-degree) evaluation is therefore made by those people above, below, inside, outside and anywhere in between.

The evaluations are typically made by having all of the involved individuals completing a lengthy and anonymous questionnaire.

  1. Behaviourally Anchored Rating Scale (BARS)

This method is designed to assess behaviours required to successfully complete a job. The focus of BARS is not as performance outcomes but as functional behaviours demonstrated on the job. The assumption is that these functional behaviours will result in effective job performance.

Most BARS use the term job dimension to mean those broad categories of duties and responsibilities that make up a job. Each job is likely to have several job dimensions and separate scales must be developed for each.

  1. Essay Appraisal

This method requires that the evaluation describe an employee’s performance in written narrative form. Instructions are often provided as to the topics to be covered. A typical essay appraisal question might be ‘describe in your own words this employee’s performance, including quantity and quality of work, job knowledge and ability to get along with other employees’ What are the employee’s strengths and weaknesses. The main problem with essay appraisals is that their length and content can vary considerably depending on the rator  e.g. one venture may write a lengthy statement describing an employee’s potential and little about past performance. Another rater may concentrate on an employee’s past performance. The writing skill of the appraiser can also affect the appraisal.

  1. Graphic Rating Scales

With the graphic rating scale method, the appraise assesses an employee on factors such as quantity of work, dependability, job knowledge, attendance, accuracy of work and cooperativeness. One potential weakness of this method is that evaluators are unlikely to interpret written descriptions in the same manner due to differences in background, experience and personality. It is also possible to choose categories that have little relationship to job performance or omit categories that have a significant influence on job performance.

  1. Checklist

This is an appraisal method where the appraise answers with a yes or a no to a series of questions about the behaviour of the employee.

The scoring key for the checklist method is normally kept by the human resource department. The evaluator does not usually know the marks given for each question.

The drawbacks of the checklist method include:-

  • It is time consuming to assembling the question for each job category.
  • The checklist questions can have different meanings for different raters.
  • It is possible to introduce bias with the method.
  1. Ranking Method

This is a method of performance appraisal in which the performance of an employee is ranked in comparison to the performance of others.

Two of the used ranking methods are paired comparison and forced distribution.

The alternation ranking method lists the names of the employees to be rated on the left side of a sheet of paper. The rater chooses the most valuable employee on the list, crosses the name on the left hand lists and puts it at the top of the column on the right hand side of the paper. The appraise then selects and crosses off the name of the least valuable employee from the left hand column and moves it to the bottom of the right hand column. The rater repeats the process for all the remaining names on the left hand side of the paper. The resulting list of names in the right hand column gives a ranking of the employees from the most to the least valuable.

In paired comparison, a rater assesses the performance of individuals until each employee has been judged in comparison to other employees. A ranking is then provided form the number of times from which each individual was rated or batter.

In forced distribution, individual’s performances  are allocated to categories of performance levels according to distribution. The method mainly uses percentages e.g. 50% of employees meet expectations, 20% exceed expectation, 20% do not meet expectations.

Critical Incidents


Possible difficulties with performance


  1. Subjectivity/Assessment errors

Potential errors include: – Leniency, Central Tendency, Recency and Halo effect.


This occurs when a manger’s ratings are grouped at the positive edge instead of being spread throughout the performance scale. All employees get a positive performance appraisal.

Central Tendency

This is the tendency of a manager to rate most employees performance near the middle of the performance scale.

Recency Error

This occurs when evaluations are based on work performed most recently and thereby ignoring work that was done earlier- generally work that was performed earlier that two months leniency, central tendency and recently errors make it very difficult to separate the good performers from the poor performers. In addition, they make it difficult to compare ratings from different raters.

Halo Effect

This effect occurs when a rater allows a single prominent characteristic of an employee to influence his/her judgment on each separate item in the performance appraisal. This often results in the employee receiving approximately the same rating on every item.

Personal preferences, prejudices and biases can also cause errors in performance appraisals. Managers with biases or prejudices tend to look for employee behaviours that conform to their biases.

Appearance, social status, dress, race and sex have influenced many performance appraisals.

The problems of subjectivity are particularly evident when non-quantifiable criteria are used for assessment purposes.

  1. Role of Line Managers

Line managers/ supervisors may lack the required technical skills and people management skills to be able to conduct an effective appraisal. A lack of time and resources may hinder line managers in providing comprehensive and effective performance appraisal.

Managers are also likely to perceive the appraisal process as a bureaucratic nuisance and form filling exercise (especially in small corps.)



Compensation refers to that which employees receive in exchange for their work/effort. Compensation is usually composed of base wage or salary plus any accompanying bonuses and benefits.

Base wage or salary is the hourly, weekly or monthly payment that employees receive for their work.

Incentives are rewards offered in addition to the base wages or salary and are usually directly related to performance.

Benefits are rewards employees receive as a result of their employment and position with the organization.

Compensation Policies

Certain policies must be formulated before a successful compensation system can be developed and implemented. These policies are strongly influenced by the organizations objectives and its environment.

Compensation policies must deal with the following issues:

  1. Minimum and maximum levels of pay  taking into consideration the worth of the job to the organization the organization ability to pay, government regulations, union influences and market pressures.
  2. General relationships among levels to pay e.g. both senior management and operating management and between operative employees and the supervisors.
  3. Division of the total compensation i.e. what portion goes into base pay and into benefits.

Organizations in addition make decisions concerning how much money will go into pay increases for the next year, who will recommend them and how raises will be determined.

Government and Union Influence

Government legislation and union contracts can have a significant impact on an organizational compensation. If an organization is unionized, the wage structure is usually largely determined through the collective bargain agreements. Since wages are a primary concern of unions, any union contracts can affect non-unionised organisations e.g. the wage rates and increases paid to employees in non-union organisations.

Importance of fair pay

Employee motivation is closely related to the types of rewards offered and their method of disbursement while debate exists over the motivational aspect of pay, there is little doubt that inadequate pay can have a very negative impact on an organisation. Pay dissatisfaction can influence employees’ feelings about their job in two ways:-

  1. It can increase the desire for more money.
  2. It can lower the attractiveness of a job.

An employee who desires more money is likely to engage in actions that can increase pay e.g. joining a union, looking for another job, going on a strike, looking for other ways of making money etc.

When a job loses its attractiveness, the employee is more likely to be absent, leave the job or remain dissatisfied with the job.

Pay Equity

The equity theory of motivation holds that employees have a strong need to maintain a balance between what they perceive and their inputs to their jobs and what they receive form their jobs in form of rewards.

Employees who perceive inequalities will take action to eliminate or reduce them. E.g. If an employee believes that he/she is underpaid will likely reduce effort by working more slowly, taking off early or simply being absent. If an employee believes that he/she is overpaid, he/she is likely to work harder or for longer hours.

There are several dimensions of equity to consider when looking at pay equity.

  • Internal equity – this concerns what an employee is being paid for doing a given job compared to what other employees in the same organization are being paid to do their jobs.
  • External equity – This deal with what employees in other organizations are being paid for performing similar jobs.
  • Individual equity – this addresses the issue of rewarding individual performance. It is closely related to pay-for-performance.
  • Organisational equity – this concerns how profit are divided up within the organisation i.e. organizations profits are fairly distributed.


The Organisational Reward System

Organisational rewards include all types of rewards, both intrinsic and extrinsic, which are received as a result of employment by the organization.

Intrinsic rewards are internal to the individual and are normally derived from involvement in the job. Examples are job satisfaction and feelings of accomplishment.

Extrinsic rewards are mainly controlled and distributed by the organization. They are more tangible than intrinsic rewards, example: salary/pay, health/medical benefits.

Intrinsic and extrinsic rewards are closely related e.g. the provision of extrinsic rewards often provides the recipient with intrinsic rewards.


Intrinsic Rewards /Motivators  

  1. Achievements
  2. Feelings of accomplishment related to performing the job.
  3. Internal recognition
  4. Job satisfaction
  5. Personal growth/career growth
  6. Status mainly derived from perks
  7. Performing challenging jobs
  8. Promotion


Extrinsic Rewards

Formal recognition/ tangibles

Fringe benefits

Incentive payments

Good working relationships

Work environment/conditions including fair supervisor


Selection of rewards

Selection of the rewards to be offered is critical if the reward system is to function effectively.

Although pay is a very significant reward, the reward system should be viewed as wider than pay to include such things as office location, assignments of preferred work tasks, informal recognition etc. Since it is the responsibility of any one organization to distribute rewards then this should be done in a way that would maximize returns.

Rewards should ideally be based as performance because employees will be motivated when they believe that good performance will lead to desired rewards.

Unfortunately, many formal rewards provided by organizations cannot be connected to performance because they are determined by organizational membership and seniority e.g. paid vacations, paid accommodation.

Rewards such as promotions can be related to performance but opportunities for promotion occur rarely and when available, they are sometimes filled by outsiders or on the basis or seniority.

The widespread organizational variable used to reward employees and reinforce performance is pay. Relating rewards/pay to performance requires that performance be accurately measured and this is not easily accomplished. It also requires discipline to actually relate rewards to performance. To date, there is no one successful formula for implementing a pay for performance program across the board.

 Job Satisfaction and Rewards

Job satisfaction is an employee’s general attitude towards his/her job. An organizational reward system often has a significant impact on the level of employee job satisfaction. The manner in which the extrinsic rewards are dispersed can affect the intrinsic rewards (e.g. job satisfaction) of the recipient e.g. if everyone received an across the board pay increase of 5%, it is hard to derive any feeling of accomplishment from the reward. If the pay rise is however related to performance, the individuals who receive a healthy pay increase will most likely experience feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction.

Five components of job satisfaction are:-

  • Attitude towards the company
  • General working condition
  • Attitude towards work group
  • Monetary benefits
  • Attitude towards management

Other components include: the employees state of mind about the work itself and life in general, health, age, level of aspiration, social status, political and social activities.


Factors affecting Job Satisfaction

A wide range of both internal and external factors affect an employee’s level of job satisfaction. Such factors include:-

  1. Work Place Support

This refers to policies and actions such as flexible schedules that make employees feel supported by the organization.

  1. Job Quality

This is measured by autonomy, meaningfulness and opportunities for learning, advancement and job security. In contrast, actual pay and access to benefits were found to have a relatively insignificant effect on employee satisfaction.

The total impact of the above factors causes the employees to be either generally satisfied or dissatisfied with their jobs.

Employees who are satisfied with their jobs tend to be committed to the organization. They also become loyal and dependable.

Employees who are dissatisfied with their jobs tend to behave in ways that can be detrimental to the organization. Those employees are likely to experience higher rates of turnovers, absenteeism, more accidents, strikes and grievances.



Introduction to safety and health at work

Concerned with identification and control of hazards associated with the physical workplace environment. Workplace hazards can range technological, physical, chemical agents and psychological.

The course is a direct response to the recognition that many deaths, injuries and illnesses occur because of safety violations, poor equipment design, negligence, and the presence of factors which lead to occupational maladjustment

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely an absence of diseases.

The managers of today are increasingly finding themselves engaged in one of society’s greatest challenges i.e. the design and maintenance of a work organization that is both effective in meeting business objectives as well as healthy and safe for its employees.

Until recently, the attitude of managers and employees towards accidents and safety was not seen to promote a healthy or safe work place.

Work place health and safety is an under researched area of HRM and it is not until recently that a significant shift of mood has been witnessed towards the subject

Why study work place health and safety under HRM?

  1. The rising costs associated with workplace injuries need to the addressed.
  2. If strategic HRM is to have meaning, it must encompass the development and promotion of a set of health and safety policies to protect the organizations most valued asset i.e. its employees.
  3. The employer has a legal duty to maintain a healthy and safe workplace, the health and safety function being directly related to organizational outcomes.
  4. There is decreasing tolerance for work related hazards in organization e.g. smoking.
  5. There is a growing recognition that health and safety forms an important subgroup of organizational factors affecting Human Resource Management.

HRM activities connected to health and safety

A number of core HR functions are directly linked to occupational health and safety. They include;

Health and safety consideration and policy can affect the selection process in two ways:

Recruitment and selection

  • During the recruitment process, potential applicants are more attracted to an organization that has a reputation for offering a healthy and safe environment for its employees.
  • The maintenance of a healthy and safe workplace can be facilitated in the selection process by choosing applicants with personality traits that decrease the likelihood of accidents.


Performance management

Proper maintenance health and safety can be enhanced through performance management function in the following ways;

  1. Incorporating the safety records of individual employees in the performance appraisals can promote healthy and safe behaviors at work.
  2. Making the accident rates of various sections important criteria of managerial performance can make Safety management programs more effective.


Training and development.

The training and development function is directly linked to maintenance of health and safety in the following ways;

  • Studies have shown that safety training for new employees is quite beneficial because most accidents are highest during the early days on a new job.
  • Studies have shown that organizations that offer safety training to their employees have reduced accident rates and fewer hazards.

Compensation and reward management.

i) A reward system that ties bonus payments and other incentives to the safety records of a work group or section can encourage safe work behavior.

Economic costs associated with workplace injuries.

In considering the economics of an unhealthy and unsafe workplace, it is necessary to identify the costs that fall upon organizations that are not keen to manage health and safety. The economic costs of work related accidents would include:

1)         Costs of wages paid to an injured person who is unable to work for a given number of days.

2)         Cost of wages paid to people who were unable to continue work because they relied on the injured persons aid or output.

3)         Cost of wages paid to persons who were unable to continue with work as they assisted the injured person.

4)         Cost of material or equipment damage resulting from accidents.

5)         Supervisor’s time spent assisting, investigating, reporting the accident and re-assigning work.

6)         Cost of training or instructing a replacement worker and making other necessary adjustments

7)         Medical cost of the injured to the company.

8) Cost of decreased output by the injured worker after returning to work.

9)         Cost of over time necessary to make up for lost production.

10)       Cost associated with loss of revenue on orders cancelled as a result of the accident.

The above list of economic costs demonstrates that designing and maintaining a safe work environment can improve productivity by reducing time lost because of work related accidents as well as by avoiding the cost present in every work related accidents and illness.


Studies indicate that the cost of industrial accidents can take as much as 37% of profits and 5% operating costs.

A healthy and safe environment can reduces operating costs and improve organizational effectiveness. Managers should therefore apply the same efforts and creativity to designing and maintaining a healthy and safe work place as they customarily apply to other facets of the business.

Accident and illness prevention programs can be integrated into the overall economic activity of the firm.

Strategies for Managing Health and Safety at Work

1)         Design of safe and health systems of work.

2)         Exhibiting strong management commitment.

3)         Inspect the workplace for health and safety hazards.

4)         Establish procedures and controls for dealing with health and safety issues.

5)         Promote safe working behaviors.

6)         Develop health and safety training programmes.

7)         Set up health and safety committee.

8)         Monitor health and safety policies.

9)         Draw an action plan and checklist.


1)         Design of Safe and Health Systems of Work.

The most direct approach to ensuring safe and healthy workplace is to design systems of work that are safe and without risk to health. This can be done satisfactorily only at the design, planning and purchasing stage.

Most accidents involve an element of failure in control which reflects a failure in managerial skill.

A guiding principle when drawing up arrangement for securing health and safety should be that as far as possible, work should be adapted to people and not vice-versa.

As managers identify processes and machines and substance that are hazardous to health and well being of employees, they must modify them to eliminate or reduce the hazard and risk at the source.

Provision of protective equipment is the typical means used by organization to reduce physical hazards. In some cases, robots can perform hazardous tasks such as spray-painting and wielding, screens on computers.

2)         Exhibit Management Commitment.

Senior management carries the prime responsibility for ensuring a safe and healthy workplace. Health and safety should become an integral part of every manager’s responsibility, starting from the chief executive down to the lowest level supervisor. Anything less that total support from top management raises questions bout the sincerelity of the organization commitment in the eyes of employees, government agencies and the public at large.

To exhibit commitment managers, salaries and promotions may be tied to a satisfactory safety record and compliance with it. Specialist in health and safety areas such as safety engineers and medical technicians can be employed and given adequate authority in the management hierarchy in order to make and implement changes.

3)         Inspect The Workplace for Hazards.

Regular monitoring of the work environment and regular physical examination of employees is another proactive approach to management of health and safety. Construction sites and manufacturing plants require regular inspections to check the application of safety standards and relevant laws. In manufacturing processes, frequent monitoring of air and quality and levels of dust and noise is needed.

Organizations may also monitor a wide range of matters relating to employees health, from routine eye tests and chest x-rays to screening for cancer. A health survey of employees helps to identify hazardous and unhealthy processes.

Three main types of formal inspections can also be carried out.

  1. Accident inspection
  2. Special inspection
  3. General inspections.

Accidents inspection follows an accident in a workplace. Special inspection usually concentrates on a particular workstation or work system e.g. the safety committee might decide it is necessary to examine some work processes.

A general survey calls for a comprehensive survey of the entire workplace.


4)         Establishing Procedures and Controls.

A healthy and safety policy is likely to fail unless effective procedures and controls are established. Procedures for handling health and safety problems need to meet the following basic requirements.

  1. Should allow employees representative to talk directly to decision makers on areas of safety and health.
  2. They should operate without any undue delay whenever a problem related to health and safety is identified.
  3. They should be able to handle emergency problems.
  4. Should permit discussions about long term decision affecting health and safety.


5)         Promotion of Safe Working Behavior.

There are several safety related behaviors that can improve safety performance in the workplace. Focus on behavior is based on the observation that 70-95% of workplace accidents resulting in injury are caused by unsafe behaviors. Managerial behavior which is related to health and safety issues can shapes the psychological contact in that an employees perception of a” safety climate” affects the employee behaviors, workers who perceive a positive safety climate in the organization are more likely to engage in safe working behaviors.


6)         Developing Training Programs.

One way to obtain compliance with health and safety regulation is through enhancing employees’ knowledge, understanding and commitment, which can be achieved through health and safety training programs.

The purpose of safety training is;-

  1. i) To improve job knowledge and skills
  2. ii) To ensure optimum employee performance at the specified performance standards in health and safety training include: – attention to safety rules and regulations.
  • Like any other training, health and safety training should be developed systematically. The training needs will first be identified through inspection through accidents reports and discussions during health and safety committee meetings, training will then follow, ending with an evaluation of the training given.
  • Top management support is a key ingredient in the availability and success of health and safety training.
  • After employees have completed their safety training at the orientation stage, management should organize regular refresher course so that the training can have a long term effect on employees.
  • Managers, supervisors and safety representatives also need to be exposed to regular training.

7)         Setting up Health and Safety Committees.

There is substantial body of evidence to suggest that health and safety representatives can make an important contribution to the improvement of health and safety at work.

Organization should have safety committees which involve employees in health and safety issues. To make the committees even more effective, a senior manager of the management team should be a member of the committee.

The functions of the committee and their terms of reference depend on the individual company policy and relevant safety regulation but they include the following.

  1. The study of accidents and disease statistics and trends, so that reports can be made to management on unsafe, unhealthy conditions and practices and recommendation for corrective action.
  2. Assistance in the development of work safety rules and safe working systems.
  3. An investigation of the safety content of employee training.

The work of the safety committee should supplement management arrangement for regular and effective monitoring of health and safety precautions.


8)         Monitoring Health and Safety Policies.

Research has shown that many safety and health polices are not that helpful in practice because of:

  1. Failure to monitor their relevance to workplace arrangement.
  2. Inadequate training.
  3. Supervisors and safety officers lacking authority to make decisions.

A proactive approach would involve managers in regularly checking to ensure that safety policies and management procedures at work are constantly monitored changed to ensure that they suit new developments or new work structures.

9)         Drawing up an Action plan.



Trade Unions

A union is an organization of workers formed to further the economic and social intensity of its members.

Without sound work relations, it is not easy to advance and become competitive. Good relationships between people in the work place are a key requirement for sound labour relations.

Why Join a Union?

  1. Job Security

Employees need to have a sense of job security. They also wish to be protected against layoffs.

  1. Wages and Benefits

Employees want to be paid fairly and to receive wages which are equitable. Other benefits issues such as hospitalisation, insurance, pension and paid sick leave and maternity leave are also significant in employees’ decisions to join a union.

  1. Working Conditions

Employees want a healthy and safe working environment. Even if legislation may exist to protect health and safety in the work place, employees feel more secure knowing that a union is involved in their safety and health issues.

  1. Fair and Just Supervision

Most employment contacts specify that employees can be disciplined for ‘just cause’. An employee who thinks he/she has been mistreated may file a written grievance against the employer thereby initiating a formal procedure through which the complaint will be heard by both union and management representatives.

  1. Mechanism to be heard

Through unionisation, employees have a powerful collective voice that can be used to communicate their dissatisfaction and frustrations to management.

The collective bargaining and grievance handling procedures ensure that the union employees will have their wants, needs and concerns brought before management without retaliation.

  1. Need to belong

The need to belong is strong in all human beings, both in their personal and eork lines. The union provides a mechanism for bringing people together not only to promeote common job related interests but also to provide programmes, activities and social events that create a strong bond along union members.


Union Structure

In order to ensure effectiveness, unions must develop organisational structure and procedures.

Union structures display a hierarchical form of organisation.

At base level is the general membership, who may elect a shop steward.

A shop steward is the union representative in an organisation who is also an employee of the organisation. One of the major tasks of the shop steward is to liaise with the management and the local union body.

The next level in the structure is the local branch which provides secretarial services and coordinates the activities of the union such as dispute handling, control of finances and conveyance of general union policy to local members. A branch is normally made up of all the trade union members in that particular area. Every branch has its own chairman, secretary and treasurer. The branch consists of the shop steward and other elected members.

At the next level is a regional committee which usually consists of representatives from various branches. The regional committee coordinates branch activities and biases between branches and national committee.

The highest level is the national committee, consisting of the executive chairman or president or secretary general, policy decisions are made at this level.

Collective Bargain Agreements

A collective bargaining is a process that involves the negotiation, drafting, administration and interpretation of a written agreement between an employer an a union for a specific period of time. The end result of collective bargaining is usually a contract that sets from the joint understanding of the parties involved as to wages, hours of work etc.

The basic components of the collective bargaining process are:-

  1. Negotiation of relevant issues in good faith by both management and the union.
  2. Incorporation of the partner’s understanding into a written contract.
  3. Administration of the daily working relationship according to terms and conditions of employment as specified in the contract.
  4. Resolution of disputes in the interpretation of the term of the contract through established procedures.

Normally, the human resource department serves as management’s primary representative in all aspects of the collective bargaining process.

Collective bargaining agreements (union contacts) usually result from the bargaining process. They govern the relations between employer and employee for a specific period of time. The contact specifies in writing the mutual agreements reached by the parties during the negotiations.

The Organisation of Discipline

Discipline means orderliness or absence of disorder, chaos and confusion in human behaviour and action.

Discipline is the force that prompts individuals or groups to observe rules, regulations, standards and procedures deemed necessary for an organisation.

Organizational discipline is guided by need to

  • To gain willing acceptance of the rules, regulations, standards and procedures of the organisation from the employees.
  • To develop a feeling of cooperation among the workers.
  • To maintain good industrial relations in the organisation.
  • To promote morale and efficiency among the workers.
  • To develop a sense of tolerance and respect for human dignity.

Types of Discipline

Discipline is broadly of two types:

  1. Positive
  2. Negative

Positive discipline implies a sense of duty to observe the rules and regulations. It involves creation of an atmosphere in the organisation whereby employees willingly confirm to the established rules and regulations.

Positive discipline can be achieved through rewards and effective leadership.

Positive discipline reduces the need for personal supervision required to maintain standards.

Negative discipline is also known as positive or corrective discipline. It uses penalties or punishments to force workers to obey rules and regulations, the objective being to ensure that employees do not violate the rules and regulations. Negative disciplinary action involves such techniques as fines, reprimand, demotion, layoffs, transfer etc.

Causes of Indiscipline

  • Ineffective leadership.
  • Lack of a well-defined code to guide behaviour of employees.
  • Divide and rule policy of management.
  • Bias or favouritism in disciplinary actions (Unfair management practices).
  • Lack of timely readdressing of employee grievances.
  • Lack of promotional opportunities causing a feeling of stagnation.
  • Defective communication system.
  • Inadequate attention to personal problems.
  • Uninteresting work.
  • Political and trade union influences.
  • Low wages and poor working conditions.

Procedures for Disciplinary Action

While taking disciplinary action, the following principles of natural justice should be followed:

  • The employee charged should be given an opportunity to present a witness of his own choice.
  • The evidence of management should be given in the presence of the employee.
  • Any punishment given should be taken in private so as not to hurt the ego and social status of the employee.
  • Disciplinary action should be consistent for all.
  • Disciplinary action should be taken by the immediate boss of the employee.


The procedures for taking disciplinary action involve the following steps;

  1. Preliminary Investigation

A preliminary investigation should be carried out to find out whether a prima facie case of misconduct exists.

  1. Issue of a change sheet

Once a case of misconduct is established, the management should proceed to charge a sheet to the employee. A change sheet is merely s notice of the charge and provides the employee an opportunity to explain his conduct. In the change sheet, each charge should be clearly specified.

  1. Suspension Pending Enquiry

In case the charge is grave, a suspension order may be given to the employee along with the charge sheet. The suspended employee should however be paid a subsistence allowance equal to half his wages for the first ninety days of suspension and three-fourths of the wage for the delay in completion of disciplinary proceedings are not due to the employees conduct. The suspension period should not exceed six months.

  1. Notice of Enquiry

In case the worker admits the charge without any qualification, the employer can go ahead in awarding the punishment without further enquiry. Proper and sufficient advance notice should be given to the worker indicating the date, time and venue of the enquiry so that the worker may prepare his case.

  1. Conduct of Enquiry

The enquiry should be conducted by an impartial and responsible officer. He should proceed in a proper manner and examine all witnesses. Fair opportunity should be given to the worker to cross-examine the management witnesses.

  1. Recording the Findings.

On the conclusion of the enquiry, the enquiry officer should record his/her findings and the reasons for them. As far as possible, he/she should refrain from recommending punishment.

  1. Communicating Punishment.

The punishment awarded to the worker should be communicated to him quickly. The letter of communication should contain reference to the charge sheet, the inquiry. The date from which the punishment should be effective should also be mentioned.

Grievance Handling

In the context of the work place, grievance means any real or imaginary feeling of dissatisfaction and injustice which an employee has about his employment relationship.

Causes of Grievances

  1. Grievances arising out of working conditions

These include:

  1. Pour physical conditions of work.
  2. Very tight production standards.
  3. Non-availability of proper tools and machinery.
  4. Unplanned changes in schedules and procedures.
  5. Failure to maintain proper discipline.
  6. Mismatch of the worker with the job.
  7. Poor relationship with supervision.
  8. Grievances arising from management policy

They include:

  1. Wage rates and method of wage payment.
  2. Overtime and incentive schemes.
  3. Promotions and demotions.
  4. Lack of opportunities for career growth.
  5. Penalties imposed for misconduct.
  • Grievances arising from violation of the following
  1. The collective bargain agreement.
  2. Company rules and regulations.
  3. Past practices.
  4. Responsibilities of management.


Grievances arising out of personal maladjustment

  1. Over-ambition.
  2. Excessive self-esteem.
  3. Poor attitude to work to work and li


Grievance Handling Procedures

Every organisation requires permanent procedures for handling employee grievances.

A sound grievance handling procedure should contain the following characteristics.

  1. Legal Sanctity

The procedure should be in conformity with the existing law. It should be designed in such a way as to supplement statutory provisions and should make use of machinery provided under legislation.

  1. Acceptability

The grievance handling procedure must be acceptance to all and should therefore be developed with mutual consultation among managers, workers and the union.

  1. Promptness

The grievance procedure must aim at speedy readdressing of grievances.

  1. Simplicity

The procedure should consist of as few steps as possible. Information about the procedure should be communicated to the employees.

  1. Follow up.

The working of the grievance procedure should be reviewed at periodical intervals. Necessary improvements should be made to make the procedures more effective.

Model grievance procedure

The model grievance procedure in Kenya provides for five successive steps, each leading to the next in case the aggrieved employee prefers an appeal.

  1. The aggrieved employee shall first present his/her grievance verbally in person to the officer appointed by the management for this purpose. The officer must give his/her answer within forty eight hours of presentation of the complaint.
  2. If the employee does not receive an answer, he/she shall present his grievance to the head of the department designated for this purpose. The H.O.D. is required to give their answer within three days of presentation of the grievances.
  3. If the employee is not satisfied with the answer, he/she can approach a grievance committee which shall evaluate the case and make its recommendation to management within seven days.
  4. If the committee fails to make a decision within the stipulated time or the employee is not satisfied with the decision, he/she can make an appeal for revision by the management.
  5. If employee is not satisfied with management decision, the management, together with union nay refer the grievance to voluntary arbitration within a week of the receipt of management decision by the aggrieved employee.


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